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The Devil

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  933 ratings  ·  56 reviews
After talking to Samokhin, Eugene returned to the house as depressed as if he had committed a crime. In the first place she had understood him, believed that he wanted to see her, and desired it herself. Secondly that other woman, Anna Prokhorova, evidently knew of it.
Paperback, 56 pages
Published June 17th 2004 by Kessinger Publishing, LLC (first published 1911)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Tolstoy's "Whore and Peace."

When he was fifty-two Tolstoy was mad with lust for a twenty-two years old beautiful servant girl named Domna who seemed very much willing to oblige his tormented desires. Apparently he was eventually able to overcome it, partly by accident and partly by willpower.

In this story, the male protagonist is much younger, 26 years old and a bachelor. He feels the need to have sex, not for the sake of debauchery, but only for health's sake, so he tells himself. Through the h
...more
Vipassana Vijayarangan
It is generally supposed that Conservatives are usually old people, and those in favour of change are the Young. That is not quite correct. Usually Conservatives are young people: those who want to live but who do not think about how to live, and have not time to think, and therefore take as a model for themselves a way of life that they have seen.

Eugene is a young man of this sort, and very anxious too. On the outside he appears like a perfectly normal man, but as the reader hears more of his t
...more
Kevin O'Donnell
“‘Do not think about her,’ he ordered himself. ‘Do not think!’ and immediately he began thinking and seeing her before him...”

Is it noteworthy that I've never read Tolstoy?

I found the story plainly told, a parable with two uncomfortable conclusions. You know all will not end well when the first line is, “A brilliant career lay before Yevgeny Irtenev.” There were plenty of signals like these, little ironic cues and foreshadowing to guide your reading and induce a particularly clear and direct int
...more
Pablo
Yevgeny

He remembered the story of a hermit who, to avoid the temptation he felt for a woman on whom he had to lay his hand to heal her, thrust his other hand into a brazier and burnt his fingers. He called that to mind. "Yes, I'm ready to burn my fingers..."


The story is about a young man Yevgeny, with a great future ahead of him. He recently graduated in law at Petersburg University, connections with the highest in society, handsome and inherited a fortune.

But despite his privileged live, he w
...more
Tyler
Aside from the novellas written by Italo Calvino, this is the first novella that I truly enjoyed in a long time. Few factors compelled me to go ahead and buy it:

1. Cheap
2. Short at approximately 136 pages
3. The fact that Tolstoy hid the manuscript to this book in a couch for many years from his wife in fear that the content will be too controversial.
4. I was curious about the alternate ending that Tolstoy have written, but was unable to decide what version to stick with for publication.

This bo
...more
Rowena
Interesting novella about a man who carries on with a married peasant woman (for the good of his health, no less!), ends up married himself but then experiences torment and temptation from his former flame. Tolstoy really does a great job entering the man's psyche, causing us to feel what he's feeling too. An unexpected ending.
Nicola Mansfield
An entertaining, though overdramatic, tale of a man's fight against lust. The devil referred to in the title is openly described as the woman the man lusts after but it is apparent that the temptation of lust itself is the actual "devil" of the title. While the story is overdramatic in its telling by modern standard's and the actions of the female characters very stereotypical, it is typical of writing from this period. I certainly enjoyed the story and it has whetted my appetite for more Tolst ...more
Maggie Harney
Any book that begins with a quote from the Bible on sin is probably one that you either are not going to want to put down or one that you should never pick up. For me, this is the latter.

The Devil is without Tolstoy's usual in-depth, descriptive style although it is very good at maintaining his usual sense of upper class patriarchy. The main character is faultless (and therefore intolerable) and doesn't develop enough for me to have any real sympathy for him. I felt the main draw of the storyli
...more
Anca
I started the year with a good book; well, story.
My first Tolstoy read and I think that -slowly- I'm falling for Russians. Last year I had a nice encounter with Gogol that made me reconsider the lack of Russians on my bookshelves.


Tolstoy -like Dostoievski, for what I know of him- has this ability to capture the human floundering and make it look real to the reader, many times also determining unexpected empathy with the character. In this particular story, main character, Evgheni's issue is to
...more
matt

It's best when Tolstoy isn't in preachy-talky mode.

One of the things I like about Tolstoy was his insistence, in art as in life, on really enacting his idea(l)s and living them in the flesh as much as he could- whether the flesh was particularly willing would be something else entirely.

The good work seems to add sympathy and dignity and insight and sublimity that outweighs the more overbearing, insomniac obsession not only with righteousness but with grabbing the reader by the lapels and hol
...more
Hosho
Despite ringing endorsements from many writers I admire, I've never tried one of Tolstoy's monstrous novels. But THE DEVIL turned out to be a great place to start. I was immediately impressed with the inner-life of the hero...and a level of self-knowledge and human understanding present in the tortured way the character moved in the word. And with such a sparse, brisk, gloriously efficient kind of prose. The read is a quick, and rewarding, and Melville House designs such a pretty book . Another ...more
সমীর
There was a evil inside Euniz, married to a loving,caring lady Liza. But there stayed a devil inside him, he couldn't win over it, the devil own.

The whole story portrays about the devil that stays in every human being. And when we can't control this devil inside us we get lost and its not only the person but also the people around him/her get affected. But there should have been a way to fight with the devil which could deliver relief to lots of persons. Poor Euniz couldn't win.
TarasProkopyuk
Сложное положение, невыносимое терзание, ужасный исход...

Толстой в очередной раз, но уже очень выразительно показывает к чему могут привести человеческие слабости и минутные влечения в прошлой жизни и как они могут отразиться в будущем.

Жизнь мужчин к сожалению насыщена многими подобными искушениями и поэтому именно им в первую очередь следовало бы прочесть эту работу автора.
Vittorio Viegas
While it doesn't have an amazing plot or anything it does enough to keep you interested and considering this is a book written two centuries ago I was surprised it was that fun to read.
Also it is short, and here I say that as a compliment since the story isn't anything special, the fact that it's short the book goes right to the point without wasting your time making you engaged in its plot.
Joshua
May 14, 2008 Joshua rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in internal struggles
A good little novella about cheating and how its a bummer, and how it bums you out a lot. Written as Tolstoy was cheating on his wife so he had to hide the manuscript in a chair in his study...bonkers! The ending (or endings as there is an alternate one as this was published after Leo's death) is PRETTY CRAZY. 2 pages where shit goes south. Pretty interesting novella, i liked it.
James McNulty
My first foray into Tolstoy, "The Devil" captures everything you could hope for in a short work. The plot is simple enough to highlight the turmoil that our hero faces, and it is presented fantastically. The story is emotionally moving and touches on some interesting themes. One of the best short works that I've read, "The Devil" is, quite simply, a masterpiece.
Helen
This was in the same edition as the Death of Ivan and Ilytch actually think I preferred it. It focused on a good son, friend, husband and father who, despite always trying to do the right thing, became obsessed with a peasant girl during and following his wife's pregnancy. There are two endings to this book; neither of them uplifting but I won't spoil it here.
Nikki Mackenzie
A thought provoking short story by Tolstoy which depicts a man and his struggles with lustful thoughts outside of his marriage in which he cannot control.
The influence of Schopenhauer can be seen here (as in many, if not most, of his works) with themes regarding our unceasing will for, in this case, sexual satisfaction and the conflicts with morality that this causes.
Tolstoy's portrayal of the character's inner monologue is so clear and it let's the reader feel as though they are looking into t
...more
Kim
C, you were right - this is an oddly compelling tale of a guy struggling with an internal moral conflict. The main character has an affair with a married peasant woman because he believes it will relieve some overwhelming physical necessity. Later, he himself gets married and believes that the peasant woman and those urges are part of the past. Unfortunately he keeps encountering the woman and those urges come storming back. He is tormented by what to do and his internal monologue - going throug ...more
Elise
"The Devil" is an amazingly good page turner, Tolstoy at his best when it comes to showing his protagonist embroiled in a moral conflict. Here we see the irresistible and destructive power of lust without Tolstoy's usual sermon, and there's even an alternate ending.
Jake Leech
Excellent. Despite War and Peace having a sort of reputation for being so long as to be unreadable, Tolstoy is actually a very readable writer, and this little novella is no different--a very simple to follow, straightforward story. I imagine that different people get different things out of stories like this, but to me it felt like addiction and trying to quit (I used to smoke). Obviously the circumstances here are different, but I felt like I recognized every single thought Yevgeny had from th ...more
Aaron
Solid book. Tolstoy lays out the near irresistible powers of temptations very well. This book includes Tolstoy's alternate ending for his book as he could not decide on just one. Both are solemn. It was interesting to see that even such an accomplished and masterful author as Tolstoy still did not have a complete knowledge of where a story should go. A story takes on a mind of its own that an author becomes subject to, and sometimes, no matter the skill of the author, the story does not want to ...more
Negar Khalili
واقعا نکته ی در خورد توجهی نداشت برام ،
نه لذت چندانی از خوندش بردم و نه ماجرای جدیدی یا احوال جدیدی درش دیدم.همش می گفتم : که چی؟؟!
خیلی ساده بود .و شبیه داستان های سریال کلید اسرار!!
قسمت آخر کتاب که و موقعیت مختلف رو بررسی کرده بود و دو پایان متفاوت به وجود اومده بود من رو یاد تعدادی از کتاب های ادبیات کودک انداخت که "خودت داستان رو بساز"
نهایتا انتظار خوندن چنین داستانی از تولستوی رو نداشتم...
نسخه ی ساده و ابلهانه ی آناکارنینا بود.ولی نه شخصیت پردازی قوی داشت و نه روایت جذابی
Lorenzo
Questo autore è il solito magistrale indagatore delle miserie umane, spietato, lucido narratore del trapasso psicologico del protagonista dalla percezione d'innocenti tentazioni carnali alla scoperta graduale di essere finito in un girone infernale del vizio, senza posa né ritorno alcuno. Il pentimento è un sorta di bumerang che demolisce ancora di più il già suo fragile equilibrio psichico. Il tormento cresce, si rafforza fino a diventare insostenibile, al cui rimedio non trova di meglio che to ...more
Akshunya Bharti
Ending lines:
"And indeed, if yevgeny was mentally ill when he committed his crime, then everyone is mentally ill, and most of all those who see in others symptoms of the madness they fail to see in themselves."
BANG ON!!
Despite the lusty storyline, and seemingly ordinary plot, the ending was Bang on!

There is an alternative conclusion, but I liked SPOILER*** :->> the one in which yevgeny blames himself.

A good read!
Janith Pathirage
A nice story about how lust can destroy a man if he succumbed to it. This story has lot of similarities with Tolstoy's famous novela, 'Anna Karenina'. Both stories are based on broken relationships but The Devil has more depth than Anna Karenina despite its been a short story. There is an alternative ending to this story in some editions, I like it better than the original ending.
Zorabike
I read this after reading that Tolstoy hid it in the upholstery of his office chair to keep his wife from discovering it. I guess I was expecting something more salacious.

I like stories about obsession, but the shock value I hoped for was far less than my shock that Words With Friends let me play the word 'twat.' Don't judge me. I got a lot of points for it.
Erez Davidi
Tolstoy refused to publish "The Devil", perhaps because of the autobiographical aspects of it. It was eventually published eight years after his death.

In "The Devil", Tolstoy explores one of the basic human emotions - lust. In a small village, a married man, whom everyone would regard as moral human being, including himself, is continuously being tempted to cheat on his wife with a past lover. He is furious with himself, because he fails in the battle against his own lust.

Tolstoy's ability to co
...more
Moad
It is said that the desires we try to suppress are to gather in the unconscious. And some like (Freud) say that no matter how hard we try to keep them there, some day they will EXPLODE! And this is the center theme of Tolstoy's novel. Not his greatest in my opinion, but nevertheless a strong literary imagery.
Amandine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider To ...more
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“The most mentally deranged people are certainly those who see in others indications of insanity they do not notice in themselves.” 26 likes
“The most mentally deranged people are those who see in others indications of insanity they do not notice in themselves.” 3 likes
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